©Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Le Festival d’Avignon

Reviewer's Rating

This summer, for his first time in Avignon, British choreographer Wayne McGregor presents his Autobiography in the beautiful Cour du Lycée Saint-Joseph. If you know Wayne McGregor, you can expect that it is not a classic autobiography, though. The show, which was first created in London two years ago, is made from the sequencing of McGregor’s DNA, and unfolds in 23 scenes (like the 23 pairs of chromosomes) that are performed in an random way every night, following the algorithm made after the sequencing by Nick Rothwell.

Ten dancers from the Wayne McGregor Company give life to those scenes, whether they are single, in pairs or the whole group on stage. Each scene is different, whether it is lighting-wise or music-wise, and the dancers, who move with the rapidity that characterises McGregor’s work, sometimes slow down or get closer to the ground, making the show breathe.

The music, composed by the electronic musician and producer Jlin, brings eclecticism to the show and softly separates each scene from the previous one. Throughout Autobiography, we get to hear a great variety of sounds, from classical to electronic music, via more rough and tribal styles.

This stream of dance is made a coherent whole thanks to Lucy Carter’s cold and sober lighting design, which never ceases to fascinate the spectator while beautifying the dancers’ moves. Their costumes, stripped-down to the bare minimum, and in plain neutral colours, are sufficient to highlight the dislocated and frenetic movements. They also enable to represent the unaffected core of the human nature, throughout scenes that refers to words everyone can deeply understand (among them: ‘nurture’, ‘ageing’, ‘sleep’, ‘remember’).

Summary in French:
Le chorégraphe britannique Wayne McGregor, pour sa première fois à Avignon, présente son spectacle Autobiography, inspiré de son propre génome ADN. Cette oeuvre, où la science rencontre et inspire la danse, se compose de 23 tableaux choisis aléatoirement par l’algorithme chaque soir, ce qui rend chaque représentation unique. Les dix danseurs sur scène, vêtus sobrement et éclairés par une lumière sobre, se livrent à une performance vive et puissante qui ne laisse pas le public de la Cour du Lycée Saint-Joseph indemne.